Sports, Tennis

Belgium, France reach Davis Cup Finals

Published : 05 Feb 2024 08:57 PM

Belgium beat Croatia to book their place in the Davis Cup Finals as Zizou Bergs grabbed the winning point on Sunday, while France also progressed by completing a straightforward win over Taiwan.

Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen put the Belgians ahead with a surprise 2-6, 6- 3, 7-6 (7/4) doubles victory over Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic, after Saturday's opening singles matches were shared.

Bergs completed the job for the visitors in Varazdin, seeing off Duje Ajdukovic 6-1, 7-5 to back up his opening-day success against former world number three Marin Cilic.

Croatia will miss out on the Finals for the first time since the Davis Cup format was changed in 2019.

France, already leading 2-0 from Saturday's singles, secured their passage when Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin came back from a set down to beat Hsu Yu-hsiou and Jason Jung 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/1).

"We were perhaps a little timid at the start," said Roger-Vasselin. 

"We stayed calm. We knew our level of play was going to change. We had to keep our nerve."

Quentin Halys rounded off the French victory with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) win over Jason Tseng.

The Czech Republic also qualified on Sunday with a 3-0 victory over Israel.

The Israeli doubles pairing of Daniel Cukierman and Edan Leshem had to retire from their match against Tomas Machac and Adam Pavlasek.

Cukierman pulled up with a hamstring injury in the third game and had to give up a few games later despite trying to continue.

"From the beginning, we played really well," said Machac. "I would like to wish Dani a speedy recovery. This kind of ending is not nice."

Argentina clung on against underdogs Kazakhstan to win a dramatic tie 3-2. 

Hosts Argentina took a 2-1 lead with a three-set victory in the doubles before the Kazakhs launched an unlikely comeback, belying massive gaps in the rankings between their players and the South Americans.

With Kazakhstan's number one Alexander Bublik winning the ATP event in Montpellier, Timofey Skatov, the world number 278, beat 22nd-ranked Francisco Cerundolo 7-6 (7/1), 6-4.

World number 338 Dmitry Popko then battled back from a set down to give Sebastian Baez a scare in the deciding rubber, but missed two match points in the third-set tie-break to slip to an agonising 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (8/6) defeat.

Slovakia, Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Brazil, USA and Canada also qualified over the weekend.

Serbia, without Novak Djokovic, were stunned by a 4-0 loss to Slovakia. 

Defending champions Italy and last year's runners-up Australia, as well as Britain and Spain, have advanced automatically to the finals.